Five-step Approach for Product Assessment and Analytical Modeling

Adding to a product portfolio, whether through internal product R & D, or business development, requires an assessment of the product both qualitatively and quantitatively. This is also true for strategic marketing of a product. To do this, there are a number of market research approaches. Using a stepwise, iterative market research approach is the most efficient and effective way to assess potential products, and build quantitative models. This article is the first in a series exploring this practical approach.

One needs to understand what type of answer is required: quick and inexpensive, pretty good, or “the” answer. This will determine how many of the steps need to be taken, as well as iterations among steps.

The five general steps are:

  1. Desk work
  2. Interviews
  3. Surveys
  4. Focus groups
  5. Quantitative model building

Depending on the outcome of each, the steps may be iterated or previous steps repeated (e.g., interviews may prompt more focused desk work, or desk work targeted in a different area; likewise, counterintuitive survey results may need to be clarified by another set of interviews).

A hypothesis should be developed before starting even step one. This will minimize “boiling the ocean” by seeking out too much information. Don’t worry that the hypothesis might be off the mark–it most likely is to some extent, no matter what. As long as the data, including qualitative remarks and discussions, are viewed objectively, the hypothesis can and should be refined, altered significantly, or even dismissed completely.

If most of this is not new to you, there will still be more detailed insights and tips in later installments of this series.

© 2013 Winton Gibbons

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